Have you suffered an injury from a boat accident?
A boat accident can happen any time you’re on the water. One of the best parts of the summertime is having an excuse to take your boat out on the water with your family and friends. Maybe this is your first summer with a schooner. Maybe you’ve been taking a pontoon out for years. Either way, the beginning of summer is a great time to refresh your memory on boating best practices.
Florida Boating Accident Lawyer Tips
Use these tips to stay safe (and afloat!) this summer.
Two Words: Life Jackets
This should be an obvious tip, but it’s definitely one that’s worth repeating. Ninety percent of drowning accidents involve swimmers who are not wearing life jackets. Keep them on board, and wear them at all times. Even if you think you’re in a shallow area or you are only taking a quick dip, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember: it only takes 1 minute for an adult to drown.
Take Swimming Lessons
Life jackets are great, but you also want to make sure each member of your boating party knows how to swim. Contact the Red Cross, YMCA, or your local community college to see if they offer swimming lessons for all ages.
Don’t Drink and Boat
You probably know the serious statistics behind DUI, but have you heard of BUI? That’s right. Boating under the influence is also serious.How serious? It causes 17% of all recreational boating fatalities. Sure, it’s not illegal to drink on a boat, but you can be cited for having a BAC of .08 or higher while operating a boat. Take drinking and boating as seriously as you would drinking and driving: assign a designated captain, bring snacks, and pull over if you’ve had too much to drink onboard.
Bring a Radio
The open water gives us a time to disconnect from our busy lives and reconnect with nature. The lack of cell phone reception on your boat is wonderful for peace and quiet, but not great in emergencies. Prevent any communication failures by buying a marine radio and keeping it on board.
Watch Your Speed
Just like on the street, the water has “safe speeds” at which to sail. If you are driving recklessly and get caught, you could be given a ticket. On the water, the punishment could be worse if you hit another boat or a swimmer.
Important Boat Accident Safety Notes
We get it, you’re excited to get out on your boat, kick back, and catch a few fish. You’ve been waiting for this trip for weeks… and you start to see dark clouds rolling in. What do you do? Unfortunately, you should probably pack your bags and head home. If a storm is approaching, it’s best not to stay out on the water. If you get caught in a storm, the best place to be is crouched down in the middle of the boat as low as you can get. Try your best to avoid this situation by heading to shore as soon as you see crummy weather approaching.
Take a Course in Boating Safety
Dive deeper into the world of boating safety by taking a course. You may be able to find a good class online, or at your local community college.
Have Your Boat Serviced
Faulty equipment or equipment failure can cause an accident with a boat, just like an automobile. This is why yearly inspections for motor vehicles are required by law. Get your boat inspected and tuned up before you hit the water.Fact: Florida accounts for the most registered boats in the U.S. with over 914,000 boats in the state.Fact #2: in 2015 alone, over 4,150 boating accidents were reported in the U.S., involving 626 deaths and 2,613 injuries. For the record, that’s about $42 million of damage to property.
How common are boating accidents in South Florida: Should you be worried?
Statistics provided by the U.S. Coast Guard also shows that 71% of boating accident fatalities occurred on vessels where the operator had no boating safety instruction, and that may be reason enough to sue the boat operator, a personal injury attorney at the Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert Law Firm explains.In fact, only about 15% of boating accident deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had a Coast Guard-approved boating safety education certificate, which alone should prompt you to check the operator’s certificate before you get on that boat.
76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and 85% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.Here at the Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert Law Firm, our boat accident attorneys have handled hundreds of boating accidents both inside and outside of court.Most boating enthusiasts know what they know – that boating is fun and accidents on the water are not as likely as car accidents. Our job with this blog is to help shed some light on what boaters should know but may not have considered. Hopefully, it will be clearer and more helpful than a pithy Aristotle quote.The truth is, the open water gives an illusion of safety that causes some boaters to lose their inhibitions, causing unnecessary accidents and needless tragedies. Here are four things you may not have known about boating accidents in Florida
1) Most Dangerous Vessel Awards Go to… Jet Skis & Open Motorboats
Open motorboats are by far the most dangerous vessels on the water. Some 58% of fatalities on the water happen as a result of an open motorboat accident. Nonfatal, but serious injury accidents occur most often (more than 30%) on jet skis and personal watercraft. Kayaks, canoes, and cabin motorboats are the least offenders in boating accidents but still make the list.
2) Alcohol Wants To Crash Your Boat
Like Nascar fans headed to the track, wanting to see a wreck, alcohol wants to take over when it comes to the boat party. Especially if you’re operating the boat, don’t let it. The lead contributing factor to boating accidents is alcohol (more than 1/3). Again, losing your inhibitions is what leads to unnecessary, preventable accidents on the water.
3) Boating Safety Courses Work (Seriously)
Operator inexperience is one of the top 3 causes of boating accidents. Statistics show that close to 90% of boating accidents occur with operators who have never taken a boating safety course. No matter how much experience you’ve had at the helm of a boat, the fact is, taking a simple boating safety course significantly reduces the chances of you or someone on your boat being wounded or fatally injured due to a preventable accident.
4) There Will Be Blood (or Blame, rather)
No matter how understanding and helpful everyone seems the scene of a boating accident, at some point blame will be assigned and liability will be required. Each year around $36 Million of damages are caused by boating accidents. You need to know what to do and who to call in case of a boating accident, no matter how serious.If you or a loved one has been involved in a boating accident that caused injury or even death, you need to immediately enlist the skilled advocacy of a personal injury attorney.
As experienced personal injury lawyers, Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA attorneys understand the emotional trauma you are experiencing. We will diligently pursue the maximum compensation possible in your situation to account for your lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact either of our area offices to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options for monetary recovery.To schedule a free consultation with a Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA attorney at, simply complete the contact us via email right away.Unfortunately, boat accidents may still occur even after proper planning and packing your boat safely. If you or a loved one are injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another, call the personal injury attorneys at Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert today at 305-931-6666 for a free case evaluation.